93rd-minute equaliser against Sunderland
further enhanced Sir Alex Ferguson's
reputation as the added-time lord.
A couple of weeks after Michael Owen's
controversial 96th-minute derby winner, United struck at the death - by ED's count the 6,000th injury-time goal Old Trafford
has seen during Fergie's 23-year
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce, the scorer of two legendary late headers for
United against Sheffield Wednesday in 1993,
hardly had room for complaint.
Many of Fergie's
former pupils display an overly respectful tone when talking about 'Sir Alex'.
Not Brucie, who has cheerfully dubbed him 'The
He said: "Even when they don't
play well, they always seem to get something out of it. And the Ayatollah
himself just sits there and watches."
Well, he doesn't
just sit there and watch, does he? He stands, chews gum, checks his watch 14
times a minute and, most of all, he shouts at the officials - as evidenced
by an extended yell at fourth official Mike Dean when the score was 1-1.
Even after seeing his side get out of jail thanks to an own
goal, he was angry. Most managers would have counted their lucky stars at grabbing
a point they hardly deserved, but Fergie was having none of it.
He tore into referee Alan Wiley for not adding more time,
and then accused the official of being unfit.
"I was disappointed with the referee. He didn't add on any time for the goal. He played four
minutes and two seconds," Fergie stormed.
"He was also walking up the pitch for the second goal
needing a rest. He was not fit enough for a game of that standard. The pace of
the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit. It is an indictment of
"You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher's dogs. We have some who are fit. He wasn't fit. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player.
He was needing a rest. It was ridiculous."
Brilliant stuff, and classic Fergie. Just when you think he
can't get any more ungracious, he
raises the bar. Like a mad old lady telling her family what a bunch of
useless layabouts they are, Fergie is past caring; he's
going to speak his mind and hang the consequences.
The thing is, disproportionate as his furious reaction was, he's right. About the stoppage time at least; ED has never strapped Wiley
up to a heart rate monitor and made him do a beep test.
Guidelines suggest adding 30 seconds per substitution or
goal, plus any other abnormal stoppages. As the second half contained five
substitutions, two goals (before the equaliser) and a red card, four minutes
would seem to be a very fair amount - and that's
without adding anything for injuries.
equaliser after 92 minutes and a second was well within time - and another 30
seconds should have been added on top of the four minutes.
Any talk of referees playing enough injury time to ensure
the big boys score is nonsense - just as ED said after the derby. The reason
Manchester United (and Chelsea, and Liverpool, and Arsenal) score so many late goals is
because everybody knows they score so many late goals.
It is a self-fulfilling prophecy: teams playing top sides
tighten up because they are close to a famous result and they know their
opponents' capacity for late
So they fall apart. Compare Sunderland's sturdy defence in the first 90 minutes to the
shambolic mess of the last four. Again, Fergie is right: had the game gone on
for another minute, United would probably have won.
- - -
Hodgson gave the Ayatollah a lesson in how to cuss the ref courteously after
Kagisho Dikgacoi's red card for
Hodgson said of Phil Dowd: "The referees are under such
enormous instruction, so he has my sympathy.
"But they should be given more leeway to look at each
situation individually.I come from a generation where violent conduct is
We all know Hodgson meant: "This ref is a jobsworth
The difference? An improper conduct charge and a reputation as a decent human being.
- - -
ED watched and thoroughly enjoyed the Old Firm game yesterday, although it was
not convinced about the quality.
When Charlton flop Zheng Zhi - on his debut - is the best
player on the pitch, you know you're
not watching fine art, and 45-year-old Tony Mowbray would have been better off
playing himself at centre-back than Glenn Loovens.
Also, what was Artur Boruc doing standing so far to the left
when Kenny Miller raced through on goal for the opener?
The 'Holy Goalie' must have been trying to get closer to God,
because he certainly wasn't anywhere
near the centre of his goal.
- - -
PLAGIARISM CORNER: ED has to share this with you from the
Observer's mighty Said and Done
Redknapp says Spurs fans should relax about "absolute nonsense" reports he could quit: "I'm definitely not leaving. It's
absolute rubbish. There's not a chance: I love it here."
Harry attacks "rubbish" reports that he could join Southampton from Portsmouth:
"I will not go down the road - no chance."
Attacks reports he'll quit
Southampton to go back to Portsmouth:
"I have no idea where this has
come from. It is absolute nonsense - just a stupid rumour."
• Aug 2008:
Attacks reports he'll quit Portsmouth for Spurs:
"It's absolute rubbish. Portsmouth is my club - I feel an immense
sense of loyalty. To leave would
be a betrayal. This is my last job in football."
- - -
Other Redknapp denials:
"It is not true. Not since I have been here. (Sebastien
Bassong) is a player that I was interested in. I like Bassong, he is a young
player with a good future and a good central defender. I don't think we have made an offer as far as I know. I
am sure the chairman has not made an offer."
have fantastic assets out on the pitch. And I spoke to the owner today and he
said we don't have to sell anybody
or anything, unless we want to bring in somebody better."
know anything about it. It's a new
one to me. I don't want to sell
(Sulley Muntari). He is one of my best players and is a terrific young talent."
And finally: "Some people are already claiming I am now
going to sign Sol (Campbell).
Well, let's nail that one straight
away - it ain't going to
- - -
FOREIGN VIEW: Striker Martin Palermo, who could
lead Argentina's attack in their critical World Cup qualifier
on Saturday, headed a remarkable winner in Boca Juniors'
3-2 victory over Velez Sarsfield
Boca twice equalised after goals by Velez
forward Leandro Caruso early in each half - first with midfielder Sebastian Battaglia's diving header after half an hour, then with Juan Roman
Riquelme's exquisitely placed drive
into the top right corner in the 64th minute.
Ten minutes later Velez goalkeeper German
Montoya cleared weakly from the edge of his box down the middle where Palermo headed straight
back from more than 40 yards into the unguarded net for his third goal in five
days. No, really, he did. Look!
The 35-year-old Palermo
had already made a case for inclusion in coach Diego Maradona's team on Saturday with both goals in a 2-0 victory
for an Argentina team of
home-based players against Ghana
in a friendly on Wednesday.
COMING UP: Emmanuel Adebayor returns from suspension in
Aston Villa v Man City at 20:00 UK time tonight.
And don't miss an exclusive
interview with him on Eurogoals One to One at 18:15 this evening. Here's what you can expect.